The Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference & Expo, which is held annually in Monterey, CA, is July 26-28 this year. Exhibitors and visitors alike are in store for another venue stuffed full of events to keep them busy throughout the entire weekend.
The show opens Friday, July 26 at 6:45 a.m. with the Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament. The tournament features advice from golf pro Jason Owen and a chance to win $10,000 in the hole-in-one contest. Golfers also have a great opportunity to network with other industry members. Shotgun start is at 8 a.m.
Proceeds from the tournament support the PMA Foundation's Career Pathways program held in conjunction with the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo.
Those distributors, operators and wholesalers opting out of a round of golf can instead participate in the Behind the Scenes: Field & Plant Tour. The tour starts at 7 a.m. Friday, and takes participants to three farms in the Salinas Valley, referred to as "the salad bowl of the nation." The tour includes stops at Ocean Mist Farms, Royal Rose LLC and River Ranch Fresh Foods.
From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, the New Member, Attendee & Exhibitor Reception will be held, followed by the Opening Reception: Fresh Market Flowers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday is also packed full of things to do. The day begins at 6 a.m. for those participating in the PMA Foundation 5K Race for Talent. Runners and walkers of all levels enjoy a beautiful 3.1-mile flat-out-and-back course, racing along the coastline of Monterey Bay. Individual awards for the top three overall male and female finishers and top two finishers in each age group will be given out during the awards ceremony.
Proceeds from the 5K Race for Talent benefit the development and execution of the PMA Foundation's mission to attract, develop and retain talent for the global produce industry.
The networking breakfast begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. And at 9:15 a.m., Josh Linkner, founder and former chief executive officers of e-Prize, will present his speech, "Welcome To Innovation: How To Maintain A Competitive Edge In An Era Of Relentless Change.
Linkner will be followed at 10:45 a.m. by an address by Maeve Webster, senior director at Datassential, titled "Innovations & Menu Trends: Predicting the Next Big Thing on the Plate."
The Chef Demos Lunch starts at 12:15 p.m., where a dash of culinary inspiration, a pinch of strategic insight and a big scoop of fun are blended together.
Organizers say, "Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty as you prepare your own creative dishes. Take away innovative recipes that integrate produce into appetizers, entrees and desserts. You'll leave the table with a long list of original tastes, ideas and techniques you can take home and try with colleagues and customers."
At 2 p.m., on Saturday, author and consultant Chip Bell will present Innovating Your Customer Experience: Satisfying Your Customer's Hunger for Fresh Ideas.
The Corporate Chef Panel is from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, and is moderated by Myrdal Miller, director of programs and culinary nutrition strategic initiatives for the Culinary Institute of America. The panel will detail how evolving palates and healthier lifestyles are increasingly moving produce to the center of the plate. Panelists include Stefano Cordona, senior vice president of Food & Beverage Innovation at Au Bon Pain; Rafi Taherian, executive director at Yale Dining; and Darryl Mickler, senior director of culinary innovation and executive chef at Chili's Grill & Bar.
The day wraps up with the Women's Fresh Perspectives Reception. Women's Fresh Perspectives is to be the catalyst for a vibrant global produce industry through the leadership, development and participation of women.
Sunday, the last day of the event, begins with a networking breakfast. At 9:15 a.m., "Managing Your Digital Brand: The Secrets to Telling Your Story Online," will be presented by Carisa Miklusak, chief executive officer of tMedia Strategies.
The exhibition floor opens at 11 a.m. on Sunday, following a networking refreshment break at 10:40 a.m. Happy hour on the show floor starts at 3:30 p.m., and draws to a close at 4:30 p.m.